tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 12, 2013 8:30am-10:31am EST
can take part. for example, one of the best answers to payday lending is the credit union movement. as a government, we put 38 million pounds to double the membership of credit unions. they are a shining example of the big society in action. now, third, we need an economy equipped for the future. you can't have an economy for all if people in parts of the north or in some rural communities are left without the transport links or the superfast broadband that they need to take part. so we're investing in infrastructure that serves the whole country. 680 million to insure we have the best superfast broadband in europe by 2015. the biggest investment in roads since the 1970s. the biggest rail investment since victorian times. with cross rail underneath us now, the biggest construction project anywhere in the europe and high speed ii, the first new train line running north out of london for how many years? 120.
so, yes, there may be some people who want to stop these changes or at least argue for them to happen somewhere else, perhaps away from their backyard. but let he tell you this -- let me tell you this, we have a plan for the long term, and we will stick to the task. finally, everyone knows that we need a bigger and more prosperous private sector to generate wealth and to pay for the public services that we need. that means we need to support, reward and celebrate enterprise. that requires a fundamental change of culture in our country, a culture that's on the side of those who work hard, that values typically british entrepreneurial buccaneering spirit and that rewards people with the ambition to make things, sell things and create jobs for others up and down the country. and that is what this government is on a mission to bring about. we want to make britain the best place in europe to start, to finance and to grow a business. so as the lord mayor said, we
are cutting corporation tax to 20%, the lowest in the g20, we're saving business a billion by slashing red tape, and we're blacking the innovative industries that will revolutionize world markets. through our new challenger business initiative, we're identifying those sectors where barriers need to be removed to enable new end trants and disruptive business models to develop at pace over the next if five years. but i don't want us just to put enterprise at the heart of our economic policy, i want to make sure it is boosted everywhere, promoted in schools, taught in colleges, celebrated in communities, recognized properly in the honors system and, yes, supported abroad. so we're making enterprise a fundamental part of our foreign policy too. since 2011 almost a billion of new export contracts have been secured for the u.k.'s business thanks to support from u.k. export finance. and i want us to build -- >> we'll leave the last couple of minutes of this speech to go live now to the newseum here in
washington, d.c. for events that may influence next year's election. charlie cook, national journal columnist and editor and publisher of the cook political report is the moderator to look at predictions for next year's house and senate races. it's just getting underway. >> i'd ask you all to, please, silence your cell phones, and we'll go ahead and get started. i want to encourage this to be a lively discussion, and we'd love to hear there you. we'd welcome your comments, your questions and feedback via twitter, hash tag nj charlie cook. we'll also be coming along with handheld microphones and would encourage you to pose a question. if you just, please, identify yourself with your name and organization, we would really appreciate it. also we have left surveys on your chairs, and if you would just take a moment to provide your feedback and drop it with a national journal staff on your way out, we would really like to know what you think of the event. let me give you just a brief
rundown of the program this morning. with one year to go before the 2014 midterm elections, today the cook team will take a closer look at what factors could influence the outcome of the house and senate races and discuss the two most likely outcomes; a continuation of the gop's brand problems from 2012 or another manifestation of the six-year itch. first, charlie cook, editor and publisher of the cook political report and columnist of national journal, will open up with some remarks, then we'll welcome jennifer duffy, senior editor of the cook political report, to give us a rundown on the senate races, and finally we will welcome david wasser match,ous editor of the cook political report who will also join charlie on stage. then finally we'd like to wrap it up with question and answer from the audience. i would like to just take a brief moment to give you an overview of united technologies. as i mentioned this morning, it would not be possible without their generous support. united technologies is a company
comprised of several well known brands including pratt and whitney, utc aerospace systems, utc climate controls and security. this morning joining us from united technologies is greg ward, senior vice president of global government relations. greg leads all federal and state government affairs, activities for the company here in the u.s. and also abroad for china, russia and the e.u. greg will now offer a few brief remarks. greg, welcome. [applause] >> good morning, everybody, on this blustery november morning. thank you for being here and, poppy, thank you for the introduction. utc is a great company to work for. our branding is always a little bit of a challenge, but those legacy brands like carrier and goodrich and others that poppy also could have mentioned are brands that we're very, very proud of. it's a great company to work for. we're pleased to be here with another great company, and
that's the national journal family of companies and with charlie cook, we have always appreciated our relationship with the national journal and particularly with charlie. we go back a ways, as i think many of you know who have been attending this event over the years. charlie, what you do know is he is what he appears to be in public. he's one of the best professionals in the field if not the best, at least in my opinion. and he has a number of proteges that he's brought with him this morning in david and jennifer who are quickly ascending in public notoriety and popularity as well. highly regarded this their fields. -- in their fields. what you don't know about charlie sometimes is just what a good, authentic, decent human being he is privately. i happen to be aware of a number of things that he does in his private time to support some mutual friends that we have, and he's not the kind of guy that brags about it or even wants it terribly well known, but this is a decent human being. i know that sounds corny, but i
just wanted to say that a little bit. i'm here with a bunch of my colleagues from utc, hopefully you might get a chance to meet. could i -- if you'd indulge me, some of you guys with utc could you raise your hand or stand up or do something? we'll get attention for just a second. thank you. i just want to say thank you to each of you. you know, great companies have to have really, really good people working for them in leadership positions, and each of these people is that. so thank you to each of you for working with me and for utc. and then last but not least, you know, sometimes as we lead into these events we always wonder if there's going to be enough food on the plate for discussion purposes. this is not one of those events. [laughter] i think since we last met, you know, we've had a shutdown and an apparent splintering -- hey, stu -- of the republican party. congressional approval numbers seem to be done for each party, particularly for the republicans. we have continuing
implementation problems associated with obamacare. obviously, i don't think those are going to get too much better in the near term and some democratic concern leading into '14 as well. we've had some stops and starts internationally in syria, now in iran, benghazi still seems to be hanging around, and we had two very interesting gubernatorial races last week that i'm sure the cook team will discuss in some detail. so thank you for being here. it's nice to have such a great turnout. utc feels privileged to be here and underwrite the event. and, again, it's always good to be with poppy, national journal and with charlie, so thank you all very much. [applause] >> all right. i know you all are excited for the main event, so i'm going to the turn it over very quickly to charlie cook. for over 13 years, charlie has been providing insight and analysis to national journal readers in our hag zien and our daily -- magazine and our daily publication.
they put together some of the best political reports and analysis in town, and they are read and valued by both sides of the political aisle. at a time that news and information on political campaigns has become so polarized, charlie remains one of the most respected political analysts in the country, providing a balanced, fair and often humorous take on the ultimate sport, politics. please welcome charlie cook. [applause] >> thanks very much, poppy, for that introduction. now, the thing is since i've had an association with national journal for 15 years, somewhere -- and you said i did well for 13, there must have been two years that sucked in there at some point along the way. [laughter] sorry about that. but anyway, it's great to see all of you again, and these are always a lot of fun. and greg and i go back upwards, north of 25 years and have, is a good, good, good, dear friend,
and united technologies does so many wonderful things, but we've really enjoyed this association. the cook political report will actually turn 30 be years old next year -- 30 years old next year, but we've had 15 of those years in a partnership with national journal. and back in the first few years, i was the cook political report from, you know, opening the mail and depositing the checks, everything in between. but now we've got a terrific six-person team, and there was a time when i could have at least given a cogent or faked a cogent analysis of every competitive house race in the country and every senate, governor's race. that time's a little past now, and we've sort of move today a motto with specialization. so what you're going to hear later on is sort of the experts' expert. because jennifer duffy has worked with us since 1988, and actually it will be 25 -- well,
there's a year, there's like a year gap in there back in the early '90s. but she has seen every, every senate race, every senate seat come through cycle after cycle after cycle and has an institutional knowledge on senate races that i don't think anybody else has. and david wasserman, who you'll meet in a minute, is ourous editor. he came back to us in 2007, and i will tell a little story about david. he was -- i used to have this routine that i would give in talks, and again, this was back in the '90s, the late '90s or early 2000s where in terms of white voting patterns that you could sort of as a tipoff of whether a, you know, an area would be likely to vote democratic or not was the proximity, concentration of or proximity to starbucks locations
versus walmart locations. you know? and it was kind of catchy. it was back before they were both ubiquitous. and i got this e-mail one day from larry sabato who said that he had a student that heard that i had said that and did a paper where he plotted out every walmart and every starbucks location in the state of virginia. this is down at uva. and lo and behold, it was actually dead on. and so i told him, i said, well, tell him if he ever wants an internship, let me know. so david came up and intershipped with us one summer, and as soon as amy walter left to take chuck todd's job when he went to go to nbc, we brought david over to take amy's spot, then amy recently came back to help out on some of the national stuff, macro stuff with me, and we have two other able people that are both here, ashton berry and lauren fulton.
yes, so i just had a brief rick perry moment. anyway -- [laughter] anyway, let's get down to it. i'm going to sort of do, lay out the macro, and then we'll have jennifer come first and then david second, have a little conversation, have a little conversation about the senate and the house. as poppy suggested, i came up early this year, and i was trying to think, okay, what is this election going to be about. and i came up with sort of two theories. and the interesting thing about these theories is i think they probably are good for 2014, but probably also a useful way of framing up where the two parties will be in 2016. and that is number one, will the republican brand, will republicans be able to fix their overall brand image and very specific problems they have with
minority voters, young voters, women voters, self-described moderates? , you know, or will 2012 robs just flow on into -- problems just flow on into 2014? or the flip side is second term fatigue. we know from history that it's almost inevitable that second terms don't go that well for presidents, that they incur real, real problems which is one reason why in five out of the six second term midterm elections since the end of world war ii the party in the white house got absolutely hammered in either the house or senate or both in that second term midterm election, the one exception being 1998. bill clinton's second term midterm election when there was sort of a backlash against impeachment. and ultimately, after eight years where five times out of six the party in the white house was not able to win a third term, the one exception being
1988 at the end of eight years of president bush when his vice president, george h.w. bush, wins. so will those problems continue? well, let's sort of stop and look at where we are on each of those. in terms of the republican brand, i think it's safe to say that there has been no improvement whatsoever in the republican brand since the 2012 election. that we're seeing the republican party's unfavorable ratings in gallup and other polling at historic highs. i can't imagine why there would be any improvement in their robs with minority -- their problems with minority voters, for example. the senate was able to get a bill through, but it seems to be pretty dead in the house which is controlled by republicans. and, you know, there's a, just some very specific reasons why republicans are having problems with latino voters, with asian voters, with african-american voters and doesn't seem to be any improvement there.
.. the gallup poll as of yesterday was 41%. actually it was 40% but was 40, 41 which is is exact where president george w. bush was at this point when he had a rock weighing down so heavily on him and while behind still president clinton, 50% and president reagan's 63%. we have seen the president drop roughly speaking a point a month
since the election. and it's all the sort of normal problems. if you think about when a brand-new president comes in, there's an energy, there's a curiosity on the part of the public. there's an energy, passion, a momentum, lots of new ideas, excitement. all of these things are sort of, surround a brand-new president. but as you go into year one, year two, year three, year four, the reelection, after that point they start really weighing. and years five and six usually are not very good, and seven and eight are often worse. and that's sort of what we're seeing right now. part of this is sometimes bad things happen to presidents in their second terms, whether there are unpopular wars or scandals, or economic downturns, or sort of chickens coming home through the, decisions from the
first term coming back and biting them on the rear end in the second term. all these things have a way of happening in second terms. so we're sort of watching that. i think in the chickens coming home to roost, the debacle of the rollout of health care certainly of the affordable care act certainly fits well into that. so basically you would say what's the worst fear that each side had looking forward to 2014, i think both parties are seeing it. now, you say, well, what happens then? i think what that means is that there's a sort of this model that's fair, and that while yes, we been seeing more and more weight elections. it used to be that you would have a wave election, maybe once every four elections come something like that, one out of four, one out of five.
in those elections it's sort of when all the politics is local doesn't apply. and where the tip of the all politics is local what i call my great elections, those are ones where each individual house and senate race is sort of stove piped. and largely independent of all the others, and what's the population and voting history of that state and district, who are the candidates? what are the campaigns? what are the indigenous local issues? how much money they have, all these things, each one is pretty independent. and that's sort of the norm, but what have we seen more recently, 2006 in 2008? democratic wave election. 2010 republican weight elections. -- wave election. we are becoming more parliamentary as the country. i'm not ready to say that's the new norm but it's less of an exception than it is to be and more of a pattern.
but if you have what we have today, this muddle with both sides. effect that a democratic pollster tell us last week that voters want to punish republicans but they don't want to reward democrats. which i thought was a very good way of saying, they are mad. don't get me wrong, the democratic party favorable-unfavorable ratings are lousy and they were lousy before the president's approval ratings took a nosedive. it's just republicans is worse. so that's kind of where we are leading into this election. it really is kind of a jump ball. i know a lot of people were saying about a month, month and a half ago, i heard quite a few journalists saying, well, you know, i do want to tread into david's territory, but the house is in play. the thing is most of the journalists that i heard say that wouldn't know a congressional district if it bit
them in the ass. [laughter] that being a political science term. and you know, they were just sort of making this -- it feels like it. well, the thing is david will walk through all of the dynamics of why that may be not as true as it may seem to be. even stipulating that republicans have a truly horrific sort of six-week period of time that did a lot of damage to their brand. and so that, to me, get on kind of treading carefully not to edge over into david's area too much, to me, for a wave to occur, and anti-republican wave to occur, i think it would require things that have not yet happened. and maybe another shutdown, default, or near shutdown, near
default, something that's closer than 13 months before the election as the last one was. because all these things have expiration dates, have sell dates. and in everything. there's a bit of time that it can't, it just starts of waning the influence of that. and only truly extraordinary of that, like maybe 9/11 are some of the only events i've ever seen that had a potency that lasted more than a year. generally you get overtaken by other events but it takes something like that and some other development that david will talk about. i think a lot of people sort of jumped the gun back then in terms of whether they're sort of a wave out there or not. i sorely don't see. could there be one? absolutely. and then -- i certainly don't see one. then to tread very carefully on jennifer's turf, when you look at the footprint of where the big senate races are, they are in states that any
anti-republican dynamic that would be out there will be less in the senate states that really mattered the most, and where, it means it may not be nonexistent that at least, everybody formulates it differently. but in the six states that i personally think are most likely to determine the outcome of the senate in terms of majority, mitt romney carried all six, and that's a fairly low bar. so you know, you sort of look at that and say, well, yeah, there's probably not quite as much of a wave. but at the same time though, we are seeing things like this is, you know, the senate recruiting period is almost over the we were meeting with republican people recently. i think it's sort of one major slot on their dance card that they were looking to fill, but
senate season is over but the house season is not. recruiting season. and so that is if you're want to say something good for democrats is that, well, things look more hopeful for the now and this is a time when people decide whether to run or not. one of the conditions for democrats having any kind of chance of winning the house would be recruiting more very high quality democratic candidates in competitive republican seats. and the others, retirement. we've seen the last couple of weeks two of them, on the republican side, tim griffin in arkansas, with don running in new jersey, both of them potentially competitive districts, particularly runyon. we would need to see more retirements in competitive seats that are currently held by republicans. i think we're sort of are we there yet, probably not. so that is sort of my
30,000-foot overview. i don't want to go any farther because i'll start poaching on their territory. i think what we going to do now is, jennifer, why did you come up? we will sit over here and i'm going to throw her a very broad open ended question and let her do her thing. but again, well, i don't want to thank yet because we're not done yet. but anyway, so. >> charlie, i was going to be a brief -- jennifer is the senior editor of the cook political report and is responsible for the u.s. senate in the governor's race for just 26 years of experience in campaign politics. before joining "the cook political report" was the press secretary for the national republican senatorial committee. charlie, i would turn it over to you spend actually, the reason for that was back in my sordid past i had been, work on the democratic side before i became an independent and the
capitalist, and was dealing with the in rfc and found they had this remarkable young woman who seemed to be look at races with a really common extremely objective eye and good insight. and so as soon as i got big enough to be able to hire somebody else, jennifer came on board back in 1988. jennifer, how about the nationals? let's say we all landed from mars, and what's this about senate elections next year? you know, let's just too broadly and then you do your thing and then i'll sort of pepper you with a few questions. >> but i think in that description of how i came to work for you, you forgot to quote what you said to me when he offered the job that i'll never forget ever. i have to hire a republican, and you're really not a good one.
[laughter] >> i wouldn't want a partisan, you know? >> that was the point. you didn't want a partisan and you didn't get one. anyway, so let's see, this martian -- we won't go start the basics about our 100 minutes of the senate, blah, blah, blah, but we will go back to 2010 when republicans found themselves in position to take up the majority and they were really hobbled by the terrible candidate, you might remember the great christian, i am not a witch, o'donnell. that problems in place like colorado and nevada and cost them. going to 2012, republicans are once again in a position to pick up the majority. they only needed for seats. not a big reach. and once again they ended up
with candidates that were less than attractive to all but the most conservative voters and they also suffered a terrible case of to mouth disease. tiebreaking, richard murdoch. what they're able to do is sort of inspect other republicans candidates by association. i mean, whether heather wilson would've won the seat in new mexico is debatable, but i've got to tell you that i doubt she's in any number year she would've lost by as much as she did because republicans were able to turn her into another conservative republican. so here we are, 2014, republicans are once again in the fight for the majority. but they feel is much steeper now and the path is much more narrow. they actually need 60 to do
that. that some things working in the favor and some things working against the what's working in their favor? well, they have fewer seats. is 21 democratic seats out there, 14 republican seats up. that's helpful. as charlie said, of their 21 seats, we consider seven and played today. that might grow, it might shrink. but of those seven, six are in states that romney won by at least 14 points, and as much as 27 points. and of the seven, north carolina, romney won by two points. he slipped in that. if you look at the republican seats you find that there's really only one seat sitting in a state that obama carried, and that his name. susan collins, and he warned that by 15 points, yet collins does not have a race. democrats also have to defend more open seats, five to two for
republicans. and all of those five open seats, three of them, montana, south dakota, west virginia are in states that romney won by at least 14 points. the two seats republicans have to defend, georgia and nebraska, our seats were romney did when. so the math is a little bit tilted towards them and open seats as well. and then, you know, there's not a lot of places for democrats to land. the republican plainfield, republican seats are sort of disproportionately in very, very red states. so let's see, where are we know? so we've got -- we've got three seats today that we are actually kill thing in republicans favor, and that is the open seats in montana, west virginia, and south dakota.
democrats place marking, they recruit where ever they can in the hopes that they may find the next todd akin, richard murdoch. right now i think republicans are in a pretty strong position in all three of those states. we have one democratic seat tossup, that's senator mark pryor in arkansas. he have to remember that prior to have a race sixe such as ago. in fact, there was no republican nominee. so we have not had a race in 12 years which is a long, long time in politics. arkansas has changed a great deal. mark pryor's name still means a lot there but republicans have a very solid candidate in congress than tom cochran. he's got a great personal story. he seems to connect well with voters. so i think that of the democratic incumbent i would say jenkins by the most in favor. with five seats leaning
democratic. cinemark baggage and alaska. i'm interested no who is general election opponent is. there's a three-way primary, and for everything the democrats tell you about joe miller the beat lisa murkowski in 2010, i don't think he's a big factor. the primary is between the lieutenant governor and a guy named dan sullivan who just left state government to make this race to the open seat in iowa, which is a story unto itself, senator landrieu in louisiana, she's got a tough race. the estate has become more republican. the open seat in michigan as surprising as a little bit. today is a lot more competitive than we would have believed. the republican side, former secretary of state has done a good job of clearing the republican field and she is going to face gary peters, congressman from the detroit area. finally, kay hagan in north
carolina. you remember, kay hagan won this seat in 2008 by beating elizabeth dole, are a bit more accurate others but the dole lost the seat and kay hagan was a beneficiary. so she's going to have a race if republicans get the candidate they need. they have a primary but there's a clear front runner in the seed for the house. of these five seats, i suspect that before long three of them come at least three will end up tossups. whether republicans can expand that plainfield with a recruit elsewhere, something they're trying to do, they haven't succeeded yet. and you look at the other side of the ledger. and you see that democrats really only come of those 14 republican seats that are up, i think only two of them today are realistic targets. mitch mcconnell in kentucky, for obvious reasons. he's in the tossup column.
he's got a tea party primary that i have to say he's more than holding his own in right now. i'm wondering if anybody told matt bevans what taking on mitch mcconnell was going to be like. we always say the worst candidate tries to be his campaign manager. i think mcconnell is the exception to the rule. he is his own best stretches but if any other target is actually in georgia. and opens a can democrats have a great candidate, michelle nunn. not only does she have a great political name but she spent her life are much of her professional life running like a foundation. she's pretty well-known in the business community. she seems to be a moderate, although she hasn't talked a lot about issues yet but she's very strong fundraiser. republicans though have a really
-- remember georgia, runoff state. very crowded primary. possibility of nominating a richard murdoch or a todd akin kind of candidate, is pretty substantial at this point because of that. so it's something that they are watching, as long as republicans nominate the right candidate, they've got more than a fighting chance here at the question is will they? so what's working against republicans? charlie talked a lot about it. he talked about the brand and the problems that they have with women, minority, younger voters. that translates pretty easily into statewide races. i think the other problem that still, the tea party and where they are running primaries are where they are endorsing candidates is certainly not endorsing the most electable or the most competitive general election candidate. they have done this in louisiana
and they have done it in north carolina, a number of places but i think this is a particular problem in georgia, iowa, both states were republicans should be very competitive with the right candidate. one final thought is i'm actually seeing a very different tea party strategy in senate races. despite an early promise to leave it alone, they're not leaving incumbents alone but they're actually going after them only in very red states. so people like pat roberts, pat roberts in kansas, lindsey graham, south carolina, mike enzi all have tea party opponents. today, various reasons, competitiveness. so i think the three did have the most to worry about right now is cochran, lindsay and dream. obvious, the tea party going to read stay, nominate their own
candidate and it won't matter in the general election. i say most of them it doesn't matter but if i'm democrats i might be looking for a candidate, in some of these states, you know, in case lightning strikes but wouldn't be surprised if they did it again. so where does it stand now? it's pretty steep but it's not impossible. but i think i would put the chances of republicans getting majority today somewhere 25-30%. >> jennifer, before you ask anything serious, -- before i ask anything serious, enlighten us what the lieutenant governor of alaska said about dan sullivan, his opponent, which i thought that was funny? >> he came into my office about five minutes after learning the statement appeared as the lead in a store in politico.
you know, something that's important in alaska is whether you're an alaskan, how long you've been there. treadwell has been there for long time. by the way, he's also the best trivia question in 2014, where did he go to elementary school? sandy hook in newtown, connecticut. but he's lived almost all of his adult life in alaska. i think that dan sullivan has been there for about 10 years and when someone asks him, sullivan said i've got jars of mayonnaise in my refrigerator that have been there longer than dan sullivan has been in alaska. which means that i will take triples, i'm not having lunch at dan sullivan's house anytime soon. spent i just thought that was kind of fun. okay, republicans, to win a majority in the senate, i guess the way i formulate it is they need to knock off a minimum of
three income an of democratic senators, although with michigan in the next, theoretically it could be only two. how many senate democratic incumbents have lost general elections in the last decade? >> believe it or not, only three. tom daschle, 2004. blanche lincoln and russ feingold in 2010. they have a very strong record of reelecting their incumbents. by contrast, in the same period of time i believe republicans have lost 11 incumbents, not counting incumbents knocked out in the primary. >> so it's kind of an odd thing. you could say six out of the seven key senate races were in states that romney won, but on the other hand, with republicans need to win two or three,
depending upon michigan beating incumbents, they've got to get a replicate or come close to replicating what has taken a decade to do. >> exactly. >> so that's why, you know, some might say gosh, with all this exposure, and i have to tell you, at the beginning of the cycle i thought the chances of republicans taking the senate were, you know, at least 40%. and now pretty much the same range as jennifer, 25-30% but it's not because things have gone badly for them. it's just the more you look at them the more you realize their challenge was a little greater. jennifer, if there's one more retirement in the senate, where might it come? >> it actually might come in mississippi. thad cochran has an exit said what he's going to run for reelection. he said he would announce it late this year, early next year. i've been told that really watch
the farm bill conference committee. it's that important to them. it's why he sort of bob pat roberts out of the rankings law. it has an impact on whether to look like him and then he will decide. the question is, he has not -- he has an announced opponent -- my question is, is the strategy to push them out or keep them in? the theory is that it might be easier to beat him in the primary than it would be for the candidate did someone else will get in this race. trust me, someone else will get industries. in terms of someone who's been elected statewide. >> okay. if republicans had a bad night, pick up three seats, maybe? >> on the site, if they have a bad night i can see -- i mean i
really, like 2012 that night, i see them making one or two. spent okay. one or two which would give them 46, 47. if they had a great night, what might it be? >> fifty-one. if they have a great that they will get to majority. >> right. so the most likely scenario, would you say, is -- >> three or four today. spent so three would be 48, 49. i would probably go for, five. so basically 48, 49, 50. if you're going to draw a bell curve of probabilities in the senate, 48, 4950 is probably the most likely. great night, 51. bad night, 47 or so, something like that. >> forty-seven. >> now, in 60 words or less, 2016. in other words, why is what
happens here importantly in terms of senate control? >> you know, you have to remember in senate races what goes around comes around. in house races, the 2016 election cycle will be -- by the 2014 election cycle and all of those were driven by redistricting in 2011. in the senate, 2016 will be driven by 2010. 2014 is being driven by 2008. well, 2010 was a really good year for republicans which means that they're going to have disproportionately more seats on the ballot. they are not all and friendly territory. it's a presidential year. that's going to impact these. even if they are two, three seats away from majority, 2016 is a really deep client for them because they will be playing defensive. >> twenty-four-10?
with seats up in states obama carried. >> and some retirement possibilities in that possibility. >> right. the point is the republicans at least in the not-too-distant future -- >> yes, this is the game. because it gets a little better for them in 18, but not by a whole lot. >> right, right. okay. we are going to do the answers at the end. enemy, killing they is at the end for everybody, right? okay. so jennifer, thank you and we'll be back up in a couple of minutes. [applause] >> great want to introduce david wasserman, how center of "the cook political report." is responsible for handicapping and analyzing the u.s. house races. he previously served as an analyst for nbc news, election night news, abc world news,
c-span, "washington journal," cnn and npr. charlie, i'll turn it back over to you and david. >> come on back, dave. now, i should add to the introduction, in junior high in new jersey, your parents gave you a subscription to a political newsletter and it was not mine, correct? >> well, i asked for my next birthday when i was 11 or 12 verse of scripture does on the gulf "the cook political report" because i'd seen you in jennifer and anyone pashtun a new walter on c-span and my parents called her office and found out how much it was. they decide to get me as a description to governing magazine said and i was sorely disappointed. now i like to think i have last laugh. >> anyway, okay, david, just sort of walk us through from, i kind of did a lead-in, how do you see the house right now? and then i'll have some trick questions for you at the end.
end. >> first of all i want to democratize the forum by taking later on, as many questions on house races as rapid-fire as would putting. so think of districts that might come to mind that you're curious about. in the house right now there are 234 republican held seats, including several vacancies are 201 democratic seats including one vacancy. said democrats need a net pickup of 17 seats to get to two and 18 and get the majority. historically that doesn't sound like a lot but it actually is a lot of seats and here's why. democrats are up against three really tough structural problems and into 2014 in the house. first is history. the average second term midterm election in post-world war ii era and we sin average loss of 29 house seats of the president's party. second is terrain. the house is really, really, really well sorted out after the past few wave elections we've had in 2012, so much so, in fact, 96% of democrats in the
house seat in district that obama carried. 94% of republicans in the house second district that romney carried. so there aren't many targetable seats on each side of which the house by a law. in fact, the are only five republicans sitting in districts that lean democratic any partisan voter index of district partisanship by the past two presidential election results. the 30th turnout. democrats have a problem in midterm elections that i call the boom and bust generational gap. and in midterm elections a proportion of voters over the age of 45 tens to be eight to 10 points higher at the share of the electorate than it is in presidential elections. this has been true for a long time. but it never used to be as consequential and parts and turns in the 1990s or the 2000s because democrats, republicans were getting fairly
even shares of those two generation groups votes. but now what happens when democrats are performing 15 points better with voters 18-29 than they are 60 and older? who shows up in midterm elections? older voters but that gives republicans a better advantage that democrat democrats have ove somehow. mainly by winning by a greater proportion independent voters votes heading into 2014. in house races. so these three barriers have really been problematic. the one number to really remember in the house is six-point 8%. why six-point 8%? that's our estimate of the share of the total votes cast for house that democrats would need to win above what republicans get in order to win the pairs possible jury of 218 seats. a lot of that has to do with the fact that democrats are inefficiently clustered in urban areas and their votes are not as efficiently spread as republicans but, in fact, obama
although he won 62% of electoral college votes in 2121 only 46% of congressional districts and only one, 20% of america's 3100 counties. this is a very clustered democratic coalition right now that makes winning the house a very, very tall order. if democrats want the total houseboat why 6.8%, that would be quite a bit and perhaps put them in line with the majority. during the shutdown, we saw generic ballot point that should democrats knew that and republicans in the danger zone. it's come down back to earth since then as the affordable care act rollout has cut or neutralize the damage and both parties have fallen. there are four types of house races where following heading into 2014. the first category is democrats against republican incumbents, and democrats are trying hard to recruit. i think they're having some success recruiting, especially in the midst in the aftermath of
the shutdown in districts that they didn't really put the maximum effort into in 2012. in districts that were kind of left on the table in last year's election. if you think about those districts where democrats didn't play in 2012, democrats have candidates running out in nebraska's second district against lee terry. california's district in indiana's second district, new york's 23rd district, tom reid. michigan's seventh district. said this on the district where democrats are trying to compete where they failed to recruit top two people in 2012. the other types of republicans who we should keep an eye on are the republicans who are sitting in democratic leaning seats and there are a few of them but they are worth noting. terry moe in california's 31st district is by far the most vulnerable incumbent on the republican side because of california's unique election rules and primary rules that allowed him to win in a fluke in 2012.
mike coughlin in colorado's sixth district which was redistricted into four democratic seat. davidow dale and california's central valley where amanda, a former staffer for senator stab in in michigan is run. chris gibson in upstate new york, a very well-liked republican who is running against shawn eldridge who is married to facebook cofounder. a bellwether, he survived every pound election cycle for balkans. democrats have never given him a run for his money i in south jersey. they are talk about challenging him. how to this poll numbers move over the next year? the second type of house race is republican versus democrat's. we have 10 democratic incumbents in the tossup column, nine of whom are freshmen democrats, only one of whom is immersing a democrat and that's make rahall from west virginia's district the and epa regulations that the
obama administration is rolling out if there's one place where they have disastrous consequences for democrats is probably southern west virginia so we are watching that would. third is open seas. you alluded to the fact would probably need more republican retirements to be up to say that democrats have a real sense of momentum heading into 2014. so far out of the open seats were members of house are running for higher office or retiring with 17 of them and they are largely playgrounds for ideological interest groups because the primaries in those districts are 10 of two election. talking about a safe trip of districts with only a few exceptions. out of the 17 open seats, 12 on republican side, there's one on the democratic side that we're watching as a potentially competitive race in the general election. on republican side that are really to open seats that republicans have to worry a little bit about. jon runyan's district in new jersey which just opened up, and arkansas the second district
where tim griffin retired that both of those members retiring after just two terms in the house. in the fourth category is incumbents in primaries who are in tough primary situations but i think the real bellwether is idaho's second district where mike simpson, a top ally of speaker john boehner, is facing a primary challenge from his right against brian smith who is backed by the club for growth. that's a very, very solidly republican district and it's not in danger of falling in democrats but it is a good test case of with republican base mood is like in may 2014. and then just finally, special elections. we've had three special elections of some consequence brewing in the last several months. the first we just witness the outcome in alabama's first district in mobile, alabama, which is traditionally a lack of very business conservatives who advocate for federal dollars for critical industries for the
mobile area. but you had in that race bradley byrne was more of a button-down chamber of commerce type republican running against dean young, who makes michele bachmann look like a fairly mainstream and rational number of congress. and in that race it probably wasn't a fair fight because dean young didn't have as much support from the kinds of concerns outside groups that a lot of others will. but bradley byrne only one that run off by about 53-47%. so you know, that's a sigh of relief for the chamber of commerce but we will see more of those fights in 2014 that could be tougher for that crowd. louisiana's fifth district, we're going to see a republican runoff, a general election runoff but it's between two republicans next saturday. and didn't louisiana's fifth district this isn't a clear case of tea party versus the establishment.
the more conservative candidate in this race is state senator neal riser who has the task of backing bobby jindal is not the most poplar figure in your own state these days running against a total outsider, pipeline construction businessman whose primary backing in the race is not from any politician but who would you rather have, bobby jindal or the stars of duck dynasty and doors in your holding fundraisers on your behalf? so i don't know, that may be kind of a proxy election that we see a reality tv influence. and then finally in florida's 13th district, bill young's seat where bill young represented my district for 22 terms just passed away. we'll have a special election for a seat on march 11. democrats have a fantastic candidate in alex sink is a former chief financial officer of the state, ran a close race against rick scott in 2010 for governor. she doesn't live in pinellas
county where the special election is being held. she lives across the bay in a suburb of tampa. nonetheless, she's highly regarded in the district and republicans are struggling to come up with a candidate who can go toe to toe with her in a very, very marginal district. we have that ascent are plus one district on our index and we rate it a tossup. heading into next year, what are we talking about in terms of overall net gains, losses? i think we're talking a very, very minimal shift in the house if the elections were being held next week. there was a time during the shutdown where you could say okay, democrats, maybe they will gain five to 10 seats, maybe they're heading in a direction where they can start arguing that they can getting closer to the 17 that they need. i think we're back down to the kind of seizure where we're not sure whether democrats or republicans have a better chance of gaining seats, but we're pretty sure that there's going to be a minimal common you know, single-digit gains either way.
>> now, down in the florida special election, alex sink slate husband bill mcbride was the democratic nominee for governor against jeb bush in -- >> in 2002? spent i think that's right, 2002. where was a close race until those in need the press debate and tim russert asked mcbride a question on education funding that he kind of muck and then the race kind of opened back up your butt it was a very close race for a while. what is the other interesting thing about alex sink? >> alex sink is a direct descendent, great granddaughter of one of the original siamese twins. so fun trivia to add to jennifer's. >> now, next, grew up in a house in north to one next door. so anyway, that's my fun.
one fairly serious question, and then very series question come and they will sort of bring it back and bring jennifer back of an open it up for everybody. if you had to name company, coming out of alabama, alabama one, we had okay, is the business community slashed establishment versus the tea party and far, far, far right of the party, and some people, you know, burn one, to mee me this s like fort sumter. it's the first battle of the civil war that's going to go on for a while where republicans have to sort themselves out. next year, who would be the two, three, four sort of tea party -esque republican incumbents who might face a primary from the
center, more establishment business oriented candidate from the center? >> yeah. is this tea party first establishment thing overblown? isn't overridden about? i think the. either going to be a few races where it's absolutely essential for understanding framing of the race? sure. you know, people ask who are the 25 or 30 republican incumbents who are vulnerable in primaries. and i think most people have a misconception that everyone is facing a primary. really i think what it is that a select few republican incumbents in the house to do a series of primaries, those become a cautionary tale for other members. ..
we have kerri batvolio, the lead person on the ballot when signatures were filed to be forged. she is facing primary from dave trautman who is more in line with the establishment crowd in suburban key for where kerry's politics are more ron paul constitutionalists. those are couple things. michigan will be an interesting stayed to watch in the primaries in august of 2014. >> let me ask jennifer to come up. there will be some microphones
floating around to take questions. here we go. okay. here we go. okay, thanks. thanks. rather than me wasting time let me go straight to our first question on this side, who is the microphone person? it is coming. queue up somebody on this side. >> i wonder if you could talk about the economy, the outlook of the economy and how that might skew for or against
republicans? the second question would be 2016, the house, if the democrats narrow the margin of little bit the next time around presidential turnout, a chance they could retake the house in 2016 or is resistance locked in in 2016 they don't have much of a stop? >> on the first, traditionally the pivot point in a midterm election the president's party, not the out party, the notable exception to that rule was 1998 with impeachment, the pivot point rather than president clinton so my hunch is if the economy was still struggling, where it is now, really struggling, i think it would probably reflect more impact democrats in a negative way more than it would hit republicans
and less this downturn was triggered by a shutdown, default, something like that. i think the default setting would hurt the president's party unless the opposition party was seen as having initiated a triggering event that would do it. that is why i think if the election had been in november of this year it would have been, the shutdown would probably have a massive impact, 13 months is an awfully long time. i would use as an example, there has been a lot of attention of the virginia gubernatorial race. without treading on jennifer's territory much, virginia is a classic swing state, used to be a southern state. now it is a swing state and that
is punctuated by if you look at all the statewide races, jennifer is the statewide race expert but david is the president virginia expert but the attorney-general's race was probably the best test of where virginia really is because you didn't have, how should we say, flawed candidate on either side, weird candidate on either side. that would be the straight up measure where it was going into yesterday, 17 vote margin of of 2.2 million and development yesterday. >> ballot box number, voting machine number 3791 increasing 501 in richmond city. >> she is a conspiracy theorist
and what was the reference you made before the event? >> the voting ballot box number 13 analogous to this situation. >> when lyndon johnson got elected to the senate there was an unusual ballot situation in one county that some very cynical people thought may have kept that election but that shows you how close, one voting machine shows virginia really is very much a swing state. next question. >> that is thinking a little bit far ahead but 2012 was a great turnout scenario for democrats all around. if you think about president
obama sharing the vote of of world class turn out operational office and even that couldn't get democrats within 17 seats of retaking the house it would take something really extraordinary to be able to get democrats close to taking back the house. the republicans have long-term demographic problems? absolutely. 89% of house republicans are white males that time when 36% of the electorate is white males. over the long term do they have huge problems? i am not sure they are going to put their majority in place by 2016. >> next question. there is one over here on this side of the room. >> you mentioned gary miller. i am with southern california public radio. immigration seems to be playing
a larger role but i wonder how large a role it will play. you have jeff denim stepping out in front, they are pushing the party to take a vote on immigration reform. gary miller who took down all references to immigration, criticism from all his websites. can you talk about that and the larger problems of the california gop congressional raises? will they lose more this time? >> david and i are going to hold up one more or two hands what percentage chance do you think there will be a vote on immigration in the house before this election? one, 2, 3, go. i don't think there is any chance. of those california raises republicans have a shrinking turf in california where they can still win.
out of those, gary miller put himself in a political wrestled with a 57% obama seat. i would be -- >> explain the circumstances how republican won a seat president obama got 57 visit of the vote in. >> it is the top two primary election in 2012 meaning the top two finishers of the june primary ballot advance the election. gary miller and another republican state senator with the top two finishers with 25% of the vote. four democratic candidates split the next slot and alan those republicans to advantage democratic district that they would pick up otherwise in the 2012 election. i would be -- jet denim and david bell does are different because they are in central valley district, culturally more
conservative and democrats have a lot more ground to make up. even in 2012 when wet t-notes turnout was higher than it has ever been those two were still able to win those seats by pretty significant margins so in 2014 when latino turnout is likely to go down as share of the overall electorate i don't know how democrats make up that difference but we still think there are going to be competitive races. >> there is one right over here. >> looking at the long view you have been talking around, a lot of folks point to the gop more less dominance of state houses and gubernatorial slots. what happens between now and redistricting again? can the democrats make it? or has that locked in for 20 or
30 more years? >> let me give an impression is the cancer and let david give what will hopefully be another one. to me, when you have the first election after redistricting the year of incident 2, that is the base line. over the course of the decade there are population shifts and trends and some districts have more republicans and some more democratic and so the precision of redistricting can come undone gradually over a decade. you could argue about how much that happens but where a district can gradually be of. probably not that much. there will be district's in 2018-2020, maybe somewhat
different in their orientation. that is my impression over the years. >> democrats could affect it worse in a terrible year in 2010 but it is a vicious cycle. republicans are able to win a whole bunch of state legislatures in 2010 and strive the line not only 4 congressional districts but legislatures they are in great shape to draw those lines in 2021. perhaps jennifer can talk about governors. >> it is interesting because let year we are talking about is 2018. in 2010 we had over 25 open gubernatorial seats, republicans won a lot of those. this class is up for reelection to a second term in 2014. in 2018 we are going to have those 24 or 25 open seats again. those will be the governors in
office when they redraw the map. they need to be thinking about that governor's race. it will be a wild ride. >> 83% of state legislative seats will be on the ballot next year. so in terms of who's going to be around drawing maps and in 2021, it will be impacted by some elections between now and then. another question? right here. >> could you comment on the implementation or lack thereof of the affordable care act on the election? >> oh come on. can i get this? >> sure. >> manager for a cooking company, we will let jennifer -- >> i want to tell you in october i knew we were not going to keep
the insurance we liked. when i found out the district put all employers into the district exchange, trying to broker the next one, how could you let this happen? anyway, i think there are a lot of problems here, not just the web site itself, but the rollout which wasn't technological failure of public relations, but now they are having a huge trust problem and confidence problem again for the millions of people to get letters canceling their policies and there are veteran policies, there are not. and it is really trust. i have been watching this, four
democratic incumbents prior to, senator andrew and kagan. at the beginning of a cycle of wondered what they all signed, fall on their sward on this to support it. mary landrieu will vote for again tomorrow. mark priory's on case saying this is the best thing that ever happened to arkansas. now they are all searching for lightbulbs. kagan called for an investigation. mark baggage is the first to sign up for health care on the exchange. it took him weeks but he finally managed to do that. mark prior is slowly back at their way, mary landrieu introduced the bill, the people kept their policies. and polling data at, polling data, they are hearing it from
their constituents. and my feeling for the long term is six web site is not going to solve these problems and if we get into the high 2014-15 there will be new problems. they're putting lot of people in the system and capacity. in rural areas this will be a problem. in urban areas will be a problem. this will be interesting to watch and will not go away anytime soon. >> there are winners and losers. with the winner is being people have no insurance today or awful policies that will get something better but on the losing side true or false, your impression is there could be a significant number of people with employer supplied health insurance who
may end up with policies that may be less generous throughout exchanges than they had going in. >> exactly. if you had a particularly rich plan, you want to keep that it will be taxed to a degree you don't want to pay for it anymore. i know through our experience, i have to apply. i am not willing to do that quite yet, but what i have been told by our broker is what we have now we are not going to have next year and is going to either cost about the same and what we have an it may be services but most likely high deductible co-pay is an access to physicians so that is going to be up. you may not have any access.
we have an opt out plan. you may not have any access to that and the other thing is i have been talking to people who work for larger employers who had their insurance changed as a result of this and pay more and getting less. or who had choices of plans and put into one plan that they are pretty unhappy with. i think this has greater ripple than people appreciate and people thought they weren't going to be affected at all are finding some impact. >> may be more shoes to drop. there is one over here. >> let's get a couple more questions over here. preserving the cap on this end of the room. >> wondering if you could talk to the impact or i should say
will we see another government shutdown in january and what lessons can we learn from last month's shutdown that might impact your thinking on that january? >> my hunch is if there is a shutdown or default, it will be over john boehner's dead body. but to me, so many of the -- a lot of republican house members going into the last one they knew this was a mistake. they knew it. the leadership knew it. the experienced ones knew it. the ones with arithmetic skills to look at math and veto overrides and things like that,
how many seats did democrats of the senate, they knew that but there was a large pool of house members that didn't realize that. and the question is how many of them now see things differently than they did free shutdown. from some statements, and i am not entire the sure that that pull is that much more food in than they were before. we will see. for people to say why didn't the republican leadership stop this? because they couldn't. i would argue that if john boehner had gone for, brought it to the floor any earlier than he did he would have been tossed out as speaker. he basically had to wait till there was an equilibrium in terms of the number of people
who either thought shutdown was an awful idea or shouldn't do it or were more worried about the impact on the economy, impacting the general election, those that were more worried and more conservative primary jobs, initially there was a lot more concerned about a more conservative primary challenge than those who feared the results of a shutdown and it wasn't until it reached that equilibrium point that john boehner could call for a vote so john boehner, eric cantor, kevin mccarthy, those guys all new, and the more exotic members, and i don't know if they learned the lesson because i certainly heard enough rhetoric out of some of them to suggest they all certainly have it.
right here. >> the feminist majority. i would like you to speak to the gender gap and the growing impact negatively on the republican party and members in congress and the states as they continue to push issues that react negatively. >> i will flip it to you all. the term gender gap, i remember back from president reagan's first term. initially, i thought it is half-empty, half full. republicans have a problem with women? do democrats have a problem with male voters, yes. 6 of one, half a dozen of the
other. two things come to my attention. number one, women live longer than men do. as the result they make up 53% of the electorate to 47% for men. and 2, for example, last year, obama and congressional democrats won by bigger margins among women than romney or congressional republicans did by men. it was 11, women by 11 and romney by 7. four republicans we are talking a smaller slice of us smaller pie. in the of arithmetic, just doesn't work for republicans and i think there will always be something of a gender gap because i think if you were,
worried about stumbling into gross generalizations and stereotypes, chris matthews used to say we have two parties, mommy party and daddy party and the mommy party is very caring and nurturing and emphasizes education and nutrition and these kinds of issues and the daddy party was strong national defense and law and order and fiscal responsibility. are these stereotypes? of course they are but the thing about it is if you are going to design a party to go specifically after male voters, specifically older white male voters, it would look a lot like the republican party. if you were designing a party to look after -- look to go after other voters it would look a lot like the democratic party. so to me a lot of this is --
some of it is going to be inherent and going to be there no matter what but some is in the messaging and i have got to think if republicans basically just -- i don't think we need two liberal parties in this country but if they just deemphasized, toned down, turn the volume down, lower the emphasis on some of the social cultural issues, they would have a chance to do a lot better. particularly when you start looking at the millennial generation, if you would get the survey data on millennial voters, on economic issues they are very skeptical about the effectiveness of government. they're not anti-government like conservatives but not pro-government like liberals, but in their life experience
government hasn't worked very well. so they are more open to alternative private-sector solutions, other things than some older voters. if you are a republican you could look at that and say maybe republicans have a shot with millennial voters which would be true except for one thing. that generation is far more libertarian. libertarian/liberal on social/cultural issues and those are the things that would be keeping republicans from doing better among the millennial generation. some of it is inherent and some is messaging, emphasis and volume. either of you have anything? >> i don't disagree with anything, i would just add the democrats have been very good at playing this part of reaching out to women voters, will leave
voters -- millennial voters. 16% of all television ads mention word abortion. 16% doesn't sound like a lot but the last count on that was over 5,000. a lot of that when in northern virginia. there was a lot of radio. it is a very affective strategy for democrats in swing straits. it doesn't work so well in arkansas/louisiana. if you look at the exit poll you will see republicans have a problem with women, they very specifically have a problem with unmarried women. the other interesting thing is c cucinelli underperformed mitt romney. the underperformed romney so democrats have learned how to do
this effectively to motivate their vote and so i expect to see a lot more of it. >> one quick statistic. there is one place in virginia i can guarantee you went over 90% of women and that is in one precinct in virginia that contained the birdy university where he won 97.1% of the vote, 1200's votes. that same emphasis can said the precinct ablaze with enthusiasm. one thousand two twenty-fifteen, and 15 for robert -- >> there's a search for those 20. >> last question. going once, going twice.
there is one right back there, red tie. >> i am curious, big picture. >> wait for the mic. >> kind of curious, big picture. looking at the broad history of the united states we have seen a couple national political parties collapse. the federalist collapse, you think maybe we are looking at a reasonable prospect republicans are heading into collapse? >> i don't believe there is the real risk of republicans of either party collapsing for a couple of reasons. first, whenever one party starts doing really, really badly, it is inevitable that the other party will overreach. they will go too far, they will get arrogant, complacent, and
screw up and get taken back down a notch. it really is, there is a self correcting mechanism, but it takes time for it to self correct. to me that challenge, i am thoroughly enjoying this talk about chris christie running because i thoroughly enjoy watching him run because i think it is fun to watch but the thing is tell me how a party that seriously considered michele bachman, herman cain, rick santorum, newt gingrich moves all the way over to chris christie in one single presidential election. and to meet the only way you could get whether it is chris christie himself or chris christie like republican nominee, i think, would be if there's a crash and burn
election in between 4 republicans, where they sort of get this out of their system and move on and yet i think the odds of this being the crash and burn election for republicans is pretty low because democratic numbers are so bad. i don't see that happening. there is the history of 1964, republicans nominate barry goldwater, he gets absolutely decimated, pops back up and wins -- democrats win the presidency four years later. 19 -- what was i going to do? ..
happen in just a matter of -- you don't know the time is it onthatoneitone term or two terms inevitable that it happens because both parties, you know both parties have i think terrific tremendous self-destructive tendencies. and if given the opportunity will in fact self-destruct although it's not complete they will bounce back when the other side doesn't. >> anyone else? >> let me turn back over to poppy. the three of us thank you all for coming out. we have had a fun time.
[applause] >> thank you c-charlie, jennifer duffy and david. we also want to thank david and united technologies for making this possible this morning and last but not least to the audience for joining us. if you can take a moment to fill out the feedback form on your chair we would like to know what you thought. have a wonderful day and stay warm. [inaudible conversations]
>> storymac last wednesday the supreme court weighed in on the practice of government meetings with prayer in the case of town of greece versus galloway the court will decide if the practice violates the constitution's first amendment ban on the government endorsement of religion. the court is also considering opening a government meeting with prayers from wednesday is
essentially identifying with a specific religion. this oral argument from the supreme court was released on friday. >> we will hear arguments first in 1296 the town of greece versus galloway. >> thank you mr. chief justice bip is the court. the legislative prayer that issued in this case were not offensive in the way identified as problematic in march. the court then committed legal error by investing the endorsement test for the legislative prayer. >> mr. hungar i'm wondering what you would think of the following. suppose as we begin this session of the court, the chief justice had called to minister to the front of the courtroom, facing the lawyers and maybe the parties and spectators. and the minister had asked everyone to stand and to bow their heads in prayer into the minister said the following we acknowledge the sacrifice of
jesus christ on the cross and draw strength from his resurrection, blessed are you who has raised up the lord jesus, you will raise us in our turn and put us by his side. members of the court who have served responded amen and the chief justice called the case would be permissible? >> i don't think so, your honor. what we have here is a case of legislative prayer in the doctrine that recognizes the history of this country from its very foundations and founding recognize threcognized the propf legislative prayer -- >> just between the legislature and any other official receiving; is that correct? >> clearly it involves legislative prayer. the tradition that we rely on involves legislative prayer and in this case involves legislative prayer. what rules might apply --
>> suppose i asked the exact same question, same kind of statements, same sort of context except it's not in a courtroom. instead it's in a congressional hearing room. maybe it's a confirmation hearing. maybe it is an investigatory hearing of some kind in a person is sitting at a table in front of members in the committee ready to testify, ready to give his testimony in support of his nomination to minister says the exact same thing. >> i think that is a closer question because of the congressional history. but as far as i'm aware, the history of the legislative body as a whole in the committee would be a different question and one distinguishing factor they are in addition to the fact that it's not the legislative body as a whole. >> to testify under oath is a different situation than here. >> we should assume here that
the next day before the same committee, [inaudible] would lead the invitation and after that an orthodox jew. >> yes, your honor. >> whether it's just one denomination that is being used as chaplain or open to various nominations. >> that's correct, your honor. that's why we believe this is an easier case than harsh because there was a paid chaplain for the denomination -- >> for 11 years the prayers sound almost exclusively look the ones that i read. in one year on four different occasions there were some attempts to bury it, to have a minister or -- but for the most
part, not of any malice or anything like that but because this is what the people of this community knew and were familiar with and what most of the ministers were. most of the prayers sounded like this. >> well, no. not most of the prayers sounded like the one you just read. >> that wouldn't matter as i understand it -- the limitations proselytizing and disparaging, but i think justice kegan's question is the limitations. it doesn't matter if there be an executive body. it could be a town meeting, school board, voting record, utilities board. is this case about prayer at the
beginning of the legislative session or is it about prayer in all three branches of governme government? >> this case is out of the legislative session. that is the meeting, that is at the time of greece is. in fact respondents tried to argue that this is what they called coercive because there are public hearings held but they are held at least 30 minutes after the prayer and anyone coming to the public hearing can show up after the prayer. >> why was it used so promptly and for justice kegan's question to the effect that this would be a violation? why would that be a violation in the instance she put? >> i'm sorry. which instances? >> the first question was hypothetical about prayer in the court to read you seem to agree that would be a first amendment violation; why?
>> the important distinction is between both of the judicial context into the legislative context on the one hand and the absence of the comparable history -- >> is it simply history that makes the division rational explanation or historical aberration? >> it's not a question of historical aberration. one justification -- what the establishment clause is understood tha both at the timed throughout history to forbid and not to forbid the judiciary is different than a legislature. the legislature can be part -- >> but you have had no problem, mr. hungar, with the announcement at the beginning of the session, god save the united states and this honorable court. there are many people here who don't believe in god. >> that's correct, your honor. >> and that's okay?
>> yes. perhaps i misunderstood but hypothetically as you described with a different minister, with an open process, nondiscriminatory process like the one we have here i think it would be much closer case than this one but it might be constitutional by weather that case is constitutional or not this case is far from the constitutional lines, further than the practice in marsh because perhaps it had one chaplain from one denomination for 16 years, yet that was constitutionally permissible and his prayers were not distinguishable in context from the prayer issue here relevant to the case. >> would it be your analyst is if instead come as i understand hypothetical, there was the point of saying all rise or something of that sort. would it make a difference if the hypothetical justice kagan posted with the same except people weren't told to rise or invited to rise or were maybe told to stay seated or something like that so there would be no indication of who was participating in the prayer?
is that they grounded distinction that you are willing to accept or not? >> i don't think that it is constitutionally significant unless people are compelled to stand about whether they are or not, i mean in the marsh case itself, senator chambers testified to practice in the nebraska legislature was for people to stand and he felt coerced to stand because when he was there he felt he needed to stand because everyone else was doing and he needed to have dealings with these people as a fellow legislature. these are adults and he is expected to be able to disagree with things that he disagrees with and that is not a constitutional violation. >> i wonder how far you can carry your historical argument. and whether some of these things are properly regarded as more historical artifacts. i mean, our motto is in god we trust, right clicks that our motto. it's been very long time, right clicks but would it look any
differently if suddenly there were a proposal for the first time to see what's about a motto in god we trust. would you view that the same way because in other words if history doesn't make it clear that a particular practice is okay going on in the future, it means well, this is what they have done so we are not going to go back and revisit. just like we aren't going to go back and take the cross out of every city that has been mayor since 1800. but it doesn't mean that it would be okay to adopt the seal today, does it? >> not necessarily, but history is clearly important to the establishment clause analysis under this president in two significant respects both of which apply here and may not apply with respect to your hypothetical. the first being that history shows us the practice of legislative prayer just like the motto hasn't led to an establishment and therefore we can be confident it is not in danger of doing so.
and secondly, the history of legislative prayer unlike your hypothetical goes back to the very framing of the first amendment. the fact -- and this is what the court said in marsh -- the first time that congress was writing and sending the first amendment out for the state to be ratified the adopted the practice and the congressional historical record is clear the prayers were almost exclusively counted and responded to find that word. >> i don't really understand your answer. how can it be that if the practice existed in the past, was wasn't constitutional in the past? >> yes sir. >> why would it be unconstitutional if the same thing was done today even without any past parallel practice that is a nice iteration.
>> i think we've also indicated at least in some cases that is the practice is constitutional as we know it to be because of the fact it has been understood to be constitutional inconsistent with the religion clause from the soundings and other practices that have no greater impact, no greater tendency to establish and are equally constitutional -- >> is there any constitutional historical practice with respect to this body? it's not simply a legislature that has a number of the administrative. sometimes it convenes in a town meeting and sometimes the zoning applications. is there a history for that kind of body as it is for the kind of legislature that we had in
nebraska? >> the amicus brief identifies the various examples of municipal government of prayer over the course of the founding which is not surprising given the legislative practice in the state and federal level as well and secondly, congress for much of our history intervened the private bills which would be the equivalent in terms of the legislative bomb purely legislative function that you're talking about. >> what is the utility supreme court? >> i don't think the public would understand that. whatever lines might be gone between the non- legislative body into the legislative body what we are talking about here is a legislative meeting and a a legislative body and it would be
incongruous as the court said in marsh if they could have legislative prayers -- >> we've always done it this way which has some force to it but the argument begins and ends there. >> as we said in the brief principles that undergirded the establishment clause are consistent with what we have seen here. your opinion and the case indicates the fundamental accord of the clause or the conduct is so extreme that it's a establishment of religion because it is putting the government squarely behind one as an exclusion of others and that isn't what -- scenic may i ask about the individual plaintiffs and what do they know obviously they have a proceedings does the record show that they have matters before the current council hearings
part -- >> there is no evidence of that. they have no standing to assert the interests of children or police officers or permit applicants they don't even claim to be in any of those categories. >> they did speak occasionally then. do you know what they spoke about? >> on at least one occasion they spoke about the prayer and down multiplthenon multiple occasione about the cable access issue. >> and what was the issue? >> she was expressing disagreement with the town's decision to award a cable access channel to one entity as opposed to another. >> do you have any objection to doing one thing that was suggested in the circuit court opinion which is to publicize rather than thoroughly in the
area those who were not christians or perhaps even religious are also welcomed up here to have either a prayer or equivalent if they are not religious. do you have an objection to that? is very disagreement on that point because certainly that is one of the concerns. greece is a small town near rochester and they are at least in rochester lots of people of different religions including parts of the religion. could you work that out if that were the only objecting? >> the practical matter of doing the opposite not making an effort to make people who were not christian feel although they
lived in or near the town or are affected thereby participants. >> it is a perfectly rational approach when any legislative body is going to have a practice of legislative prayer to go to the houses of worship in the community. >> i want to know if you have any objection. >> i don't think it is constitutionally required all the way with that as a practical matter. >> all that was left in the case was the question of your making a good-faith effort to try to include others what you object to doing it? >> i don't d know what the towns position is. as it practical matter the deputy supervisor was quoted in the newspaper saying anybody can come in prayer. >> the difference of putting it on a website is different from making an organized pursuit to see that people get the order. >> what is the equivalent of
prayer for somebody that is not religious? >> what would somebody that is not religious -- what is the equivalent of prayer? >> it would be guidance and wisdom in that case a nonreligious person on multiple occasions. >> i can answer that question later. [laughter] >> thank you counsel. >> mr. chief justice may i please the court? the second decision requires the courts to determine when a legislator has permitted too many sectarian references in its prayers or has invited to many christian prayer groovers. it's for two reasons.
first it cannot be squared with the nation's long history of opening legislative sessions not only with a prayer, but a prayer given in the religious idiom and second it invites exactly the same prayer that marsh sought to avoid. >> that proselytizing another religion would be of a constitutional violation. so unless you parse out the prayers you can't determine whether there is proselytizing in the nation. that was the point when he was faced with this question. so you have to do some parsing. >> you have to look at the prayer to determine the proselytizing, but it's a different series of judgments than determining whether something is sectarian. the kind of the date is de- bais reflected in the differences --
>> you can't argue that the quote that justice kagan red is not sectarian. it evokes jesus christ as the savior of the world. there are many religions who do not believe that. let's get past that. >> we agree because our sectarian, but the kind of debate that you are seeing for example 15%, 50%, 60% of the congressional prayers are sectarian. those are debates about whether the holy spirit is sectarian. the district court -- [inaudible] >> if the chief justice got up at the beginning of the session and said all rise for a prayer, would you sit down and? >> your honor, whether i would say to their -- and i don't think -- >> do you think -- how many people in this room do you think would save? truthfully? >> i don't think that many would sit. >> why do you think that somebody that is sitting in a
small room where hearings of this nature are being held, and the chairman of this legislative body is about to rule on an application that you are bringing to him or her, why do you think any of those people wouldn't feel coerced to stay and? >> i would like to address the point this way. with respect to the town council, the general matter the municipal legislatures can invoke the same tradition of solemnizing and invoking federal guidance in the state legislature. we recognize there are differences, however. the owner has pointed to one and that is what we call the public forum. those are the ones where it is adjudicated and we do think it is important on this record that those are separated in time for the court of appeals said the
meeting starts at six which is in the prayer that the board meetings to agitate our f6:30 or 6:32 so the type that your honor has raised we do not think that is significant. we think -- >> do you think that if the voters which are town board started it off with a prayer and then kept on going, do you think that would be a significant case and switch sides? >> i don't know that we would switch sides but i do think it mitigates the coercion that the respondents have identified and that is one of the significant differences between the town legislature -- >> we don't agree -- we think that the principal guidance of
marsh, there are three pillars. first of all the history is what the court looks to first and there's a long history of legislative prayer. second, the court should be very weary to make the sectarian judgments and third, adults are less susceptible to the religious indoctrination than peer pressure. >> could you respond to this? here's what the constitution promises it will equal .-full-stop dozens and i think we can all agree on that and that means that when we approach the government and petition the government, we do so not as a christian or muslim or non- believer and what troubles me about this case is that here a citizen is going to a local community board, supposed to be the closest, the most responsive institution of government that exists and immediately being
forced to identify whether she believes in the thing is that most of the people in the room believed. whether she belongs to the same religious team as most of the people in the room do and it strikes me that that might be inconsistent with this understanding that when we relate to our government, we do so as americans and not as jews and christians and non- believers. >> i think we agree with much of what you said, but the difference here is that this approach of the governmental body occurs against a backdrop of 240 years of history which makes this different from the very beginning of our legislature from the first continental congress had been from the first congress there have been legislative prayers given in the religious idiom of either the official chaplain or the guest chaplain that has regularly invoked the language of the prayer ever.
>> the hybrid nature of that body you say it would be proper to have [inaudible] and for another. but you recognize on the one hand the nebraska legislature and then you say this would be a nice thing to do. are you saying that it would be given proper or that it would be necessary given the nature of the body. >> with respect to some of the things identified and justice breyer recommended i would be more akin to safe harbors that
there are undoubtedly advancements challenges that could be brought into the extent to point to things such as public criteria and things like that. with respect to the public forum i don't think we have a position as to whether it is required but we do think that makes this case the much easier case because of that separation of the one part that is the strongest argument for the other side that there is an element of coercion and your application is being ruled on the separation of the town adopted makes that much less persuasive. the other elements the respondents pointed to for coercion are the ones that trouble us because they have analogs in our history so for example they point to the presence of children but of course on the senate they are